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Last year for Christmas, my daughter-in-law Ari and my son Kyle made this salsa for Christmas gifts. They loved both the making and giving of this wonderful recipe. Kyle says that Ari’s tomatillo salsa makes a meal. You can pour it on anything, he says, chicken, scrambled eggs, enchiladas, tacos, and it turns it into a fabulous dish. He says he can eat it every day. This, from a guy who doesn’t talk much, and especially doesn’t talk much about food. I heard what he said. I got Ari’s recipe from her (this was not easy). She told me she doesn’t really have a recipe for her tomatillo salsa, she just throws a little of this and that into a pot. She finally told me what she puts in, and about how much of it, so I had an idea of how to put it together.

That was last spring. Since then, I planted my garden with tomatillo plants and peppers. It was a good year; I got plenty of tomatillos and plenty of very hot peppers – habanero, jalapeno, cayenne, and ancho. It still amazes me after all these years of gardening, how you can take sunshine, water and dirt and transform it to something that will make your whole mouth feel like it is on fire!

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Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

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• A bucket of tomatillos
Wash them and put them in a large pot with a very small amount of water. Bring very slowly to a boil; much more liquid will be generated as the tomatillos cook. When they burst open, they are cooked. Blend with a immersion blender until smooth, but not so much that the seeds get blended.

• A bowl of hot peppers
Wearing rubber gloves, wash, halve and remove the seeds from fresh hot peppers. Place these in a pot with a small amount of water and bring slowly to a boil. When cooked, blend with the immersion blender until you have a smooth sauce.

Add the pepper sauce a small amount at a time to the tomatillo sauce, until you have achieved the hotness you are after.This is how you can control the heat to exactly how you like it! Save any remaining pepper sauce for other uses. Can be frozen.

• Plenty of salt
Add a teaspoon at a time, until the sauce tastes rich. It may surprise you how much salt you add. People think that a few sprinkles of salt is all it takes to make a dish taste good, but if they only knew how much is in processed foods, it would be a lot easier to add plenty. Even if you are very generous, you will be adding far, far less than is in most processed foods.

• A big bunch or two of cilantro, chopped fine
This makes a big difference. Stir this in right at the end before canning.

Canning Tomatillo Salsa:
Get half-pint jars with two-piece lids. Ball canning jars can be found at most grocery stores or online at CanningPantry. European canning jars can be ordered online at Weckjars.com.

Also helpful to have rubber gloves, a water-bath canner with rack, and a jar lifter.

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Put two-piece lids in a pan, cover with water and simmer for ten minutes. Wash jars and keep in simmering water in the water-bath canner until ready to fill. Fill jars to 1/2″ from top with almost-boiling tomatillo salsa. Wipe rim of jar with a clean, damp paper towel to be sure there is no food residue. Immediately place a lid, rubber-side down, over top of jar and seal with screw cap by screwing down as tightly as possible. Process half-pint or pint jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly.

To package, I used:
Shape 12 circle labels in Simple Edge Style, mint. This shape was designed for regular-mouth canning jar lids. I also used a small tag in the same style.

Used in this Project:

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Avatar photo Jeanne Williamson (138 Posts)

Jeanne and her husband David launched My Own Labels in January of 2000. It was a spin-off of their successful graphic design firm, plus it allowed Jeanne to incorporate her love of baking, making, sewing and creating. Today David and Jeanne continue to be the heart of the operation both creatively and practically.


  1. Jeanne, this sounds like such an easy way to make salsa! I have a hard time working without a recipe though, and I love to make hot salsa to give to my friends, but I can’t take the heat myself. Would it be possible to ballpark some levels of ingredients for a medium hot salsa so I can make it without tasting it? At least ratios if not measurements. Like 2 to 1 tomatillos to peppers? And maybe an idea of how much salt? Much appreciated, thanks!

    • Hi Meg, Sorry it took so long to respond, I must have missed this message when it was posted. I just made a third batch of salsa, and can confirm that the cilantro is very important. Without it, blah. With it, fantastic!! In answer to your question, can I give you some amounts? Yes, but the hotness completely depends on the peppers, and nothing can guarantee how hot your peppers are; it depends on the variety of pepper PLUS the growing conditions. But here is what I did today: eleven cups of cooked, blended tomatillos. Three cups of cooked, blended hot peppers. Two bunches of cilantro, I didn’t even undo the tin-tie, just swished each bunch well in a pot of cold water then chopped fine everything down to the tin-tie. At least three teaspoons of salt. Perhaps four or five. Try three and if a little bland, add one more teaspoon, then maybe one more if you think it might make it better. I hope this helps!

  2. A lot of recipes call for lime juice and vinegar. Frankly, I don’t like the flavor when these are added. They said you need these for proper canning. I see that you didn’t use either of these. Should I be worried?

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